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Philippines could be a $2-trillion economy in next decade —World Economic Forum 

The Philippine economy could grow to as much as $2 trillion in the next decade should the country continue its reforms to attract investments, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said Tuesday.

“We are optimistic, bullish on the Philippines, provided that the reforms are continuing,” WEF president Børg Brende said at a press conference in Manila.

“The World Economic Forum, we are very bullish on the Philippines, provided that reforms do continue. I think that this could be in the coming decade, a $2-trillion economy if there are further investments, in education, infrastructure, and also able to draw on the great competence of the people of the Philippines,” Brende said.

The Philippine economy is valued at over P24 trillion or over $400 billion in 2023. The economy as measured by gross domestic product grew by 5.6% in 2023. 

The WEF chief said boosting investments in up-skilling and right-skilling the Philippines’ 110-million population would help further shore up the economy.

“I would say that further investments in infrastructure, upgrading of airports, roads, bridges, because there is the archipelago… that's investing in also the ability to the more rural areas to see investments if the transportation costs are going down,” Brende said.

“I think also, as I mentioned, the reforms when it comes to energy, being more reliable on your own energy sources,” the WEF chief said.

Brende added that the Philippines should further improve the ease of doing business by cutting red tape and bureaucratic processes.

 I know the government is on this. Of course, this is not something only for the Philippines. This is a challenge in the world in many economies. But everything that can create even a more conducive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators will also lead to more startups and hence also unicorns,” the WEF chief said.

“I think the aim should be for the Philippines to be the country of unicorns,” he said.

Despite “some geopolitical tensions” in the region, the WEF chief said the Philippines still has an opportunity to get increased investment, “especially in the manufacturing area.”

“Because there is diversification of the supply chains. And so far, we know that Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, India have gained a lot from this. And I think there is also a potential for the Philippines,” Brende said.

The WEF chief reiterated that “there is a real opportunity for this country to become a $2-trillion economy.”

“That means that we could foresee this economy becoming the 18th largest economy in a few years and later on even the 12th largest economy in the world, provided of course all the caveats that I already have mentioned,” Brende said.

“So, it's really now up to the Philippines to continue on a positive economic trajectory,” he said.

National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the Philippines needs to grow beyond its current growth trajectory of 6% to be able to catch up with its “more prosperous neighbors.

“So, we have up-skilling, right-skilling that we have talked about. And, taking advantage of this demographic sweet spot that we're now experiencing can make our growth potential to 7% to 8%,” Balisacan said.

“And, if we do that, we don't get into the problem of overheating because of that potential. So, that's the economics there. That's why we are quite bullish about the economy because they have never been that bright spot compared to, say, 10 years ago,” the NEDA chief said.—LDF, GMA Integrated News